9:15pm, Karma Lounge
Rugged and untamed, the Drones sound the savage poet ravaging through the Australian Outback. Recalling Birthday Party-era Nick Cave backed by Crazy Horse, the Melbourne quartet, which formed in 2000, exorcises epic tales of desperation and depravity that puncture the flesh like barbed wire.
"Being here is like being in some kind of outpost, more so than somewhere like the States," vocalist/guitarist Gareth Liddiard writes from Down Under. "You hear news from everywhere else and you eat that shit up then shit it all out. You have to keep yourself amused, but that happens everywhere.
"Blues is a dumbed-down version of West African stuff. Country and folk is just Irish music. The Beatles is Chuck Berry when you boil it all down. Gangsta is just gangster and that's Italian, but the three main English speaking countries all have their own way of interpreting the same musical info."
Liddiard sought further seclusion in writing the Drones' sixth LP, Havilah, recorded in a mere two weeks in a mud-brick cottage near the Victorian valley of the same name. Beautifully barbaric, Havilah is the Drones' most expansive work to date, building off the narrative nature of 2006's Gala Mill and thriving in the disconnect between the scathing, post-punk sprawl of "The Minotaur" and Sunday morning redemption found in the ballad "Cold and Sober."
"Havilah is more of a road map rather than a set of directions," Liddiard reasons. "We wanted to make something that doesn't need a suicidal frame of mind to go and gig all over the world, something that wouldn't shut out the listener. That's been a goal in the past, open hostility, 'cause it feels good and because it's kind of funny too, but we love the Beach Boys or Big Star as much as Suicide or Black Flag or Einstürzende Neubauten, you know?"